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Pat Fitzgerald Makes His Opinion On Nebraska Very Clear

A candid photo of Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: Head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats on the sidelines in the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Northwestern opened the season by defeating Nebraska as a double-digit underdog in Dublin. 

The Wildcats rallied from a 28-17 deficit to score two straight touchdowns en route to a 31-28 win. Despite emerging victorious, head coach Pat Fitzgerald praised his "Week Zero" opponent during Tuesday's appearance on The Dan Patrick Show (h/t 247 Sports). 

"I think Nebraska's going to be very good," Fitzgerald said. "They're very talented, and they've got a lot of transfers. As those pieces kind of jell together, man, they are explosive. And we're glad we got 'em in Week 1."

Last year, the Cornhuskers dominated the Wildcats in a 56-7 victory, Nebraska's last win since commencing a seven-game losing streak consisting entirely of single-digit defeats.

Fitzgerald acknowledged that outcome playing into a lopsided spread favoring Nebraska. But ultimately, any motivation drawn from that perceived slight "doesn't matter when the ball goes up in the air."

"I don't blame people for feeling the way that they did," Fitzgerald said. "They took a lot of high-profile transfers. They got after our rear end a year ago in Lincoln. And it was a credit to the way they played and how poorly we played. And yeah, that's just the way that it is. And I'm sure that we made a lot of Northwestern fans very happy on Saturday night."

Nebraska's most notable transfer, former Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, went 25-of-42 for 355 yards, one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and two interceptions in his team debut. Running back Anthony Grant, who transferred from Florida State, gained 101 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Yet promising performances from those additions weren't enough for Nebraska to stop its painful stretch of close defeats. Following a 3-9 season with narrow losses to six ranked opponents, the Cornhuskers will look to reverse that misfortune.

Fitzgerald's Wildcats, meanwhile, will hope to stay undefeated when hosting Duke this Saturday afternoon.